Pakistani army launches offensive in North Waziristan

Published: December 23, 2013
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PHOTO: AFP/FILE

PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Residents of North Waziristan accused troops on Monday of killing dozens of civilians during a military operation against militants.

The operation started just after a December 18 suicide bomb attack on a checkpoint in North Waziristan.

Speculation that the army might launch a major offensive in the frontier tribal areas has been building as the government’s attempts to engage the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in peace talks have floundered in recent months.

Military officials said more than 30 militants, most of them ethnic Uzbeks, had been killed in the operation.

“Security forces exercised utmost restraint to avoid any collateral damage,” the army said in a statement.

“The military spokesperson reiterated that the military action against the terrorists in North Waziristan on December 19 was in response to an attempt by terrorists to ambush a military convoy.

“The intelligence-based sting military operation later was specifically targeted against foreign terrorists holed up in a nearby compound.”

Foreign militants from various places including central Asia have long been known to be based in the region.

The army in its statement did not say anything about residents’ accusations of civilian casualties. The military’s media wing could not be immediately reached for comment.

The authorities imposed a curfew and residents said many people had fled from their homes after days of shelling and raids by helicopter gunships in the Mir Ali region of North Waziristan following the suicide attack.

Resident Muhammed Tayyab said he lost three of his children and his wife in the shelling.

“On the first day of the attack an artillery shell hit the room where my kids and wife were sleeping,” Tayyab told Reuters by telephone. “The government has put them to sleep forever.”

“Where is safe?”

Residents put the civilian death toll at several dozen.

“From the first day of the attack until now 70 civilians have been killed,” said a tribal elder in Mir Ali who declined to be identified for fear of state reprisals.

“Some truck drivers and hotel and shop keepers were shot directly, and dozens were killed by gunships, mortars, and artillery shelling on the civilian population.”

Reports from North Waziristan are hard to verify independently because journalists and observers are not allowed to work on the ground.

Residents said bodies were left in the open in the villages of Mosaki and Hasukhel as terrified villagers fled the area.

“We are moving our families to keep them safe but the mortars and shells are following us,” said Asad Sher of Mir Ali. “Please tell us where is safe. The troops are demolishing our homes and bazaars.”

Malik Gul Salehjan, another man, said: “My children are asking me for bread but I am not able to give them anything because there is nothing in my house.”

A North Waziristan administration official said tribal elders and army representatives convened a jirga, or meeting, on Monday to try to find a negotiated end to hostilities.

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Reader Comments (61)

  • Tribune Ghanta
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:18PM

    Stop making stories yourself tribune!!

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  • unbelievable
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:22PM

    Pakistan relies heavily on inaccurate artillery during it’s military offensive’s – not a great choice when fighting terrorist who are hiding amongst citizens. No doubt the people in N Waziristan prefer drones.

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  • ahmed
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:25PM

    if locals give shelter to them or the miscreants are from the locals, what can be done. there will be collateral damage. everyone carry a gun over there, everyone has the same amount of chance of killing pakistani soldier so whom to trust and whom not to trust.

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  • Ali Tipu
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:29PM

    Love the way Pakistan Army plays its game. First create monsters for dollars, then kill them for dollars. The local, average Pakistani will never understand these dirty games of the power corridors.

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  • Ahmed
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:32PM

    Long Live Pak Army, more power to you!!!! Save us from TTP.

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  • Dec 23, 2013 - 6:33PM

    This will happen until we stop killing our own people, uzbek or Tajik, they are human too

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  • Raza
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:36PM

    Well done Pak Army !!!!!

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  • DesiTor
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:36PM

    This is a diabolical sitution that we are creating. It needs to be avoided at every cost. The earlier a resolution reached the better it would be for all parteis.The army must decide how far they want to go down this road. I hope he stake holders (PML-N, Army) understand what they are doing???

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  • Dec 23, 2013 - 6:40PM

    And where is Reuters getting its information?

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  • unbelievable
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:47PM

    @Tribune Ghanta:

    Stop making stories yourself tribune!!

    It’s a Reuters article – not written by anyone at ET.

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  • Morgan Freeman
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:47PM

    Good going Pak Fauj!

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  • sabi
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:49PM

    Here it goes N.S and Pak army.Congratulations.Send them to other world.

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  • JAM
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:50PM

    if journalists are not allowed to work there how you are reporting that his children are asking for bread.. stop propagating and making controversies

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  • Last Word
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:52PM

    It so appears that the army has gone berserk after the militant attack is not sparing the civilian population whom it believes as supporters of the latter. The collateral damage caused would have serious implications on any future operation launched as local population support which is most important for its success would be missing as Taliban do not target them, instead would receive their support. The military should stop shelling populated areas instead evacuate civilians and launch wedge type operation by encircling the militants and not allowing them to escape. The civilian government should investigate the serious accusation of killing innocent civilians on the same lines of abductions in Balochistan to avoid collateral damage in the future.

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  • sabi
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:56PM

    NS is hitting sixes to dharna walas.There is a difference between genuine politicians and fake ones.

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  • saad
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:56PM

    There is no media coverage and no media person is allowed to go to NW how come tribune got the reports about children and civilains are getting killed? Stop your false claims we all know what really is happening army carried out the operation on tip of intelligence agency who comfired the presence of foregin terrorists and their families. Well done pak army we are with you.

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  • Pakistani bloach
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:57PM

    1st you cry for operation then you cry army is killing civilians. stop misleading public by false propaganda.

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  • Imkan Batt امکان بٹ
    Dec 23, 2013 - 6:57PM

    Pakistan army should continue to eliminate terrorist elements among pashtuns

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  • roadkashehzada
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:02PM

    since when ET has beome ummat, dawa etc???

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  • Dec 23, 2013 - 7:02PM

    It is an admitted fact Pakistan is a sovereign state.It has constitution Independent judiciary and the armed forces.the countrty is a nuclear armed state which has been recognised by the world countries.
    You are citizen of the nuclear armed state you should respect and honore the state law and participate not in any kind of unrest or upheaval.you should see your security and the security of your childern.
    The armed forces has compelled to start operation because insurgents is continuously involved in terrorist activities .They are targetting army points and petroling vehocles of the army.they shouldn’t do such act.They should laid down their arms and come to across the table that is the best way leading to peace and security.

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  • Major Iqbal
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:08PM

    Why on earth are the two soldiers in the photo above wearing shalwar kameez?

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  • ivehadit
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:10PM

    Ground wars cause a lot of “collateral” damage. everyone that’s complaining about drones does not really have civilian safety at heart. It’s more about ego and “national sovereignty”.

    We’ve all fallen for the Taliban’s media campaign. No one even wants to call out the reason for these operations. It’s all about reacting to the news.

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  • DesiTor
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:16PM

    @Sultan Ahmed.:
    I hope u have basis for your views! The minimum for this kind of claim is that you should have met the IDP and verified your claims. I mean u should have tried their shoes!

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  • A2Z
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:22PM

    So when army was not launching operation, when all political parties were unanimous on peace talks, this whole media including ET was on offensive against them. Now army has prepared to launch the operation, the very same media is writing against it. This whole media should be banned.

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  • sabi
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:23PM

    Trolls are in shock.There dreams are shattering.They don’t even see the source of news which is Reuters not ET.

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  • unbelievable
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:25PM

    “Security forces exercised utmost restraint to avoid any collateral damage,”
    .
    Unfortunately use of artillery in areas occupied by Civilians would argue otherwise.

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  • Raza
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:30PM

    All these people saying “long live army” and “well done army” need to take a long hard look at themselves. Have we become so inhumane that we stand to appreciate an ordeal which involves the slaughter of so many innocent men and women? These people are honest and hard working civilians like any of us, what is their crime? That they happen to live in NW? Does that mean that the institution shouldered with the responsibility of protecting these civilians can be allowed to kill them and label it as “collateral damage”? One man’s collateral damage is another man’s kin and it sickens me that my own countrymen fail to acknowledge the citizens of NW as human beings who have as much of a right to live as anyone else. And oh the army says they’ve made sure there is no collateral damage…HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? You cannot hold military operations in civilian territory and avoid innocent casualties. A bullet cannot tell a man, woman or child apart before it kills them.

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  • Vasan
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:30PM

    Did the army get PM’s permission? Does it mean that the first step in the new security policy viz. talks have failed?

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  • nikki_2501@yahoo.com
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:33PM

    @Sultan Ahmed.:
    No sir, we dont need negotiation with them we want to see the end now.Dont u think they have made our lives insecure,we want a safe, secure, and happy Pakistan.

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  • Khan
    Dec 23, 2013 - 7:52PM

    @Last Word:

    Mind your own business Indian folk.You dont know the reall story.They are going in a right way.They know the consequences,let them do their job.
    If the army does not take action you Inida have isseu, if they are after them you have another face now?

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  • frustrated
    Dec 23, 2013 - 8:02PM

    @Owais Mukhtar: This will happen until we stop killing our own people, uzbek or Tajik, they are human too
    the one who struck suicide truck with the mosque was also a human

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  • umar
    Dec 23, 2013 - 8:03PM

    I wish that it becomes a full a full blown operation. People who are involved in the killing of 50,000 people, kidnapping of numerous people, robbery of many banks should be dealt with a decisive blow. Their twisted ideology which justifies the bombing of churches and shooting of teenage girls should be eliminated once and for all. We should all support our army in this time of war. People who ask for clemency for Taliban are enemies of the state.

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  • Prateek
    Dec 23, 2013 - 8:04PM

    When we kill the same terrorists in Kashmir, it becomes human rights … limit of hipocracy

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  • Real Baloch
    Dec 23, 2013 - 8:05PM

    @Pakistani bloach:
    Your hypocrisy drips from the misspelt word you tried to use for cover. It’s Baloch not blaoch. and you’re not it.

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  • wazirastani
    Dec 23, 2013 - 8:07PM

    @Major Iqbal: Why on earth are the two soldiers in the photo above wearing shalwar kameez?
    Major Saab.. these persons in shalwar qameez are FC slodiers if you see them with your glasses on.

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  • Liaqat Yousufzai
    Dec 23, 2013 - 8:07PM

    Why the Govt is silent over the killings of civilians in North Waziristan. The people want to know the reality. If it is propaganda against Army, then it should be exposed.
    The army should have operated sensibly in the region. Killing civilians in the operation would further strengthen the cause of Taliban in the region.

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  • optimist
    Dec 23, 2013 - 9:18PM

    It is sad but still better to lose innocent lives in fight, rather than doing nothing and waiting to be killed by terrorists!

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  • passivevoices
    Dec 23, 2013 - 9:32PM

    The news agencies are marvelous; getting information from an area which is totally inaccessible. Well done, good fiction.

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  • Proletarian
    Dec 23, 2013 - 9:46PM

    Finally the army is doing its job. North Waziristan needs to be cleared of the Taliban. Destroy their emirate,

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  • Rex Minor
    Dec 23, 2013 - 9:59PM

    One wonders if the Resident Mohammad Tayyab, who lost his wife and three children due to Pakistan army operation, said anything about the polio vaccination of the children before they were murdered.

    Rex Minor

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  • rkfrom ny
    Dec 23, 2013 - 10:40PM

    @Ahmed:
    hhahaaa..they are doing this per orders of US master….or else no aid..!!

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  • jg
    Dec 23, 2013 - 10:52PM

    where does it say in entire report that Army has launched milops.the contenst are already 4 days old.

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  • insaan
    Dec 23, 2013 - 10:57PM

    @Ali Tipu: that is so true, Pakistani army is going to bill US/NATO for this project.

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  • Nabeel
    Dec 23, 2013 - 11:08PM

    Pak Army, the nation salutes you and recognises the ultimate sacrifice made by you. We wish you success and victory in your fight against enemies of Pakistan, shameless TTP. Pakistan Zindabad
    ..

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  • Aaam Insaan
    Dec 23, 2013 - 11:43PM

    i would love too see what happened to the innocent guys there in NW to those guys who are praising it and to those army guys who did it.

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  • True Pakistani
    Dec 23, 2013 - 11:48PM

    If this is how to do operation against terrorists..then looooong live Pakistan…you have got brilliant strategic heads.

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  • khan
    Dec 23, 2013 - 11:53PM

    Why pakistanies are not understanding that we are in state of war, Pak Army is fighting a war for our safety, nobody comments anything when terrorists attack military and behead soliders claming them Murtad. Wake up

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  • Fasi
    Dec 24, 2013 - 12:34AM

    So easy for you guys to throw in your baseless analysis. Innocent civilians do die wheather its drone attacks or army operation. How would you know? WHEN YOU ACTUALLY VISIT THOSE PLACES AND LOOK AT THE MISSERIES OF THE LOCAL PEOPLE. Keeping those people out was not in the hands of the local crowd. Army let them in and now they try killing them slowly so the flow of $$ keep coming their way. I would love to see an amry operation in places than KPK. Liyari is 200 times smaller than NW. Why can’t this proud and strong army conduct an operation there?

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  • Azriel
    Dec 24, 2013 - 12:37AM

    Well, these terrorists have been there for years. The people of the area knew that. They have sheltered, fed and did business with these terrorists. Here is what they could have done: They could stop doing business with them, but then the terrorists would have simply took what they wanted and killed them. Or, they could have moved out and asked for moving assistance. OR, they could have banded together and took out the terrorists, themselves. No, they stayed and supported the terrorists and then cry out when some of them are killed in an attack they knew was coming. Not to mention that every time the terrorists are engaged by military, they always use the civilians as human shields and use the civilians homes as attack launching sites. This has become a rerun of every action taken against terrorists. They hide in civilian neighborhoods and then cry out (as if they were the civilians) when civilians die due to their actions.

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  • Iftikhar
    Dec 24, 2013 - 1:13AM

    Well done Pak army.Recommend

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Dec 24, 2013 - 1:33AM

    There could be some truth to the civilian killings as Pakistani Army calls it collateral damage copy catting the Americans. Does any one remembers what did they do in Swat, they rounded up some suspects and shot them dead while the cameras were rolling, no body got punished for that crime. what we don’t understand that this is not a religious war, it is political, Musharaf facilitated the Americans to kill the Pukhtuns on the other side of the border and he and his minions thought that the fire will not spread to Pakistani side. Here we are killing our own citizens and expect that every thing will be OK after this killing spree. I do not and will not support TTP or any other violent organization but punishing the whole populace for the crimes committed by few in cahoots with foreign funding is like old colonial times. Keep it up and you will not have that territory in the North West and the South of Pakistan. Military has not done a good job in Baluchistan either and look at the situation there now.

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Dec 24, 2013 - 1:48AM

    @Major Iqbal:
    Obliviously you never were in the Army, let alone to a be major. If you were ever connected to Pakistan’s army, you would have seen FC or Frontier Constable units operating in the North West of Pakistan or even seeing them in Peshawar at Qilla Balahisar, their head quarters.Some how you smell like an Indian or a fake major.

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  • salman
    Dec 24, 2013 - 6:56AM

    I start liking new COAS. It is time to go on offense. I agree Pakistan greatest threat is not and will never be from neighbor but it is and will be with-in.

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  • Zohaib
    Dec 24, 2013 - 9:02AM

    Just a false propaganda. Army informed all civilians before launching operation. There is no other solution than to fight with the terrorism

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  • shakeel
    Dec 24, 2013 - 10:32AM

    As a Shia we support the efforts of the army.

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  • Aslam
    Dec 24, 2013 - 12:16PM

    @Raza:
    welldone for what???For killing Civilians?????

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Dec 25, 2013 - 12:07AM

    The above incident proves what a mess a full blown operation may turn out to be in terms of collateral damage. The only viable option is a ground offensive in close coordination with the hated drones. Let the Army proceed to encircle the suspected terrorists hideouts without large scale artillery bombing. When ever there is a hostile fire from a house or a hideout let its coordinates be uploaded in real time and let the drones take care of the rest. Since the drones will target only those locations from where hostile fire is being directed, there will be almost zero collateral damage. This cannot be done by F-16’s which cannot hover above besides being prohibitively expensive. So you let the Army advance in all directions or get droned. Voila.

    Editor ET: Please allow. No one has said it before.

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  • Concern1
    Dec 25, 2013 - 7:17PM

    @Owais Mukhtar: If this Tajiks/Uzbeks are muslims why dont these people go back to their own country & kill their own people, what are they doing in Pakistan killing Pakistani Soldier & Civilians, these $cum-bags should be wiped out along with supporters like you

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  • Dec 28, 2013 - 11:49PM

    I strongly condemn the civilians death by Pak army through irrational use of artillary that can be achieved by sting commando action. Our all intelligence agencies and military leadership has failed due to only to make happy US.

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Dec 29, 2013 - 10:10AM

    @MUHAMMAD Furqan Ijaz:
    Please read my comment above regarding civilian deaths.
    By the way how strongly did you ever condemn 50,000 civilian deaths by Taliban Enterprise killed with eyes wide open and never claimed to be collateral damage?

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  • waqar
    Feb 20, 2014 - 6:01PM

    we stand with pak armyRecommend

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